Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu

What Does A Personal Representative Of An Estate Do?


The personal representative of any estate has a very important role that requires a great deal of time and attention. As part of the probate and estate administration process, personal representatives handle the estate of a person who has passed away. Personal representatives, also called executors, are sometimes outlined in a person’s will or another part of their estate plan. When a person does not have an estate plan in place, the probate court will assign a personal representative to the estate. So, what does the personal representative of an estate do? Below, our St. Petersburg estate planning lawyer explains.

File Necessary Documents with the Probate Court 

There are many documents personal representatives must file with the probate court. These include the original will and death certificate, certificate of value, and an application to probate the will. These documents must be submitted within 30 days of the date of death. When there is no will, a spouse, live-in partner, or other family member can file the will.

Send Interested Parties Notice 

You must notify anyone named in the will, and perhaps other family members of the deceased, of the passing. You can do this using forms provided by the court. The court will also publish a notice in a local newspaper to notify creditors. Creditors have the right to make a claim against an estate within four months of the death.

Collect Assets 

Assets in probate are those of the estate and that were owned by the deceased at the time of their death. Personal representatives do not have authority over assets that have designated beneficiaries or that are co-owned. Before doing anything with the assets, the personal representative should take an inventory of them.

The personal representative must open a new bank account for the estate, to which assets can be transferred. The financial accounts of the deceased must then be closed, with assets being transferred to the estate account. Sometimes, real estate and other assets must be sold, with the proceeds being deposited into the estate account.

Pay Debt 

Beneficiaries should not receive any portion of the estate until a full four months has passed. After this time, creditors do not have a right to make a claim against an estate. Any expenses for administering the estate must also be paid.

Asset Distribution 

Before distributing assets to the beneficiaries, the personal representative should prepare accounting documents outlining the expenses and inventory of the estate. A distribution plan should also be drafted and the beneficiaries should agree with it. Then, the assets can be distributed and the estate can be closed.

Our Estate Planning Lawyer in St. Petersburg Can Help 

Whether you have been named the personal representative of an estate, or you are trying to decide who to name, our St. Petersburg estate planning lawyer can help. At Legacy Protection Lawyers, we are dedicated to making sure estates are organized and comprehensive so families are protected. We can put our experience to work for you, too. Call us now at 727-471-5868 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more.



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn